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Lloyd Shaw Foundation Records

Identifier: D096


The Lloyd Shaw Foundation is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and teaching of the folk dances of America. Our work is intended to share a diverse range of dance and music with an intergenerational audience, develop leadership in dance and music to ensure its continuity, retain records which document the past, present, and future of our American dance and promote fellowship and enjoyment through the production of dance events, music, and dance materials. All of this emphasizes the spirit and dances of Lloyd Shaw.

This collection contains awards, framed objects, textiles, personal items belonging to Lloyd and Dorothy Shaw, documents from and pertaining to participating clubs and prominent square dance figures, conference and workshop documentation, cue cards and dance instructions, and memorabilia including pins, badges, plaques, and flags.


  • 1850-2007


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright not evaluated: The copyright and related rights status of this Item has not been evaluated. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. See:

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Lloyd Shaw was born September 29, 1890 in Denver, CO to William Goodman and Julia Anne (Banker) Shaw. His parents moved the family to California, where his father was briefly involved in real estate, then back to Denver and eventually to Colorado Springs, where Lloyd Shaw lived for the remainder of his life. He attended The Colorado College for undergraduate studies. Immediately after graduating in 1913, he married Dorothy Cory Stott (Dorothy Stott Shaw, November 26, 1891-March 12, 1985), and began a lengthy career as an educator. In 1916 he was hired to teach at and be principal of Cheyenne Mountain School in the Broadmoor area, and became superintendent of the Cheyenne Mountain School District shortly afterward. Dorothy was simultaneously hired to be the school librarian. Lloyd and Dorothy remained at Cheyenne Mountain School until their mutual retirement in June of 1951. While at Cheyenne Mountain, Shaw pursued a radical transformation of the school’s academic and athletic offerings until they included carpentry, astronomy, Native studies, rodeo, skiing, hiking, and folk dancing, in addition to more traditional subjects. In 1928 and 1937 he was awarded Honorary Doctorates from The Colorado College and the University of Colorado, respectively. In 1936 Lloyd Shaw took a group of dancers to perform at Central City; the group became known as The Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, and farther-ranging tours commenced shortly afterward, with their first cross-national trip happening in 1939. Also in 1939, Shaw published his best-known work, “Cowboy Dances,” and with his dancers conducted a demonstration in Chicago for the annual conference of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; together, these generated enough demand that in 1940 he began running summer institutes for educators interested in western square dancing. The classes went on hiatus from 1942-1944 for World War II, but began again in 1945 and continued until after his retirement in 1951. By the end of the run there were three sessions each summer, including a special invitation-only fellowship in August which continued even after his death; its membership eventually became the nucleus of the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. In 1950 Lloyd Shaw founded a record company, Lloyd Shaw Records, in collaboration with Fred Bergin, owner of Rinx Records. He passed away on July 18, 1958 and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs. His wife, Dorothy; a daughter, Doli Shaw (Doli Obee); and Doli’s children, Enid Allison Obee (Enid Cocke) and Kent David Obee, survived him. Lloyd Shaw attended local elementary schools in Glendale, California and Denver, Colorado, as well as Colorado Springs, CO; after the family moved to Colorado Springs, he graduated from Colorado Springs High School in 1909. Following graduation, he attended The Colorado College for four years, graduating in 1913 with a Bachelors of Arts (BA). During his sophomore year he became engaged to Dorothy Cory Stott, who also graduated in 1913. Following graduation, Lloyd Shaw was hired to teach science and English courses at Cutler Academy, the preparatory school run by The Colorado College. When Cutler Academy shut down in 1914, he was hired by the Colorado Springs High School as a biology teacher, simultaneously coaching dramatics both there and at the college. He remained at Colorado Springs High School from 1914 until 1916, when he quit and became principal of the Cheyenne Mountain School. In addition, his work there included teaching Senior English as well as coaching sports and dramatics. In 1917 he wrote The Littlest Wiseman, a Christmas pageant that would be performed by the school annually until his retirement; it was officially published as a book in 1951 and is still being performed. In 1919 school officials asked Shaw to return to Colorado Springs High School as principal, but he declined; by 1920 he had been promoted to Superintendent of Cheyenne Mountain School District. In 1928 The Colorado College awarded him an honorary Doctorate, followed by the University of Colorado giving him an honorary Doctorate of Education in 1937. He retired from the District in 1951 due to health problems, but remained an influential figure in the local community and in the national square dance scene. In addition to his work as an educator and dance leader, Lloyd Shaw wrote regular newspaper articles. The first of these were published in 1915 and collected into his book, “Nature Notes of the Pikes Peak Region,” which was published in 1916. Near the end of his life, from 1956 until 1957, the Colorado Springs Free Press published his daily column, ”Half a Century of Memories.” Significant organizational memberships and relationships in Shaw’s life included his extended relationship with The Colorado College, where he served as class president, yearbook editor, dramatics coach, and as an Alumni Trustee from 1923-1936 and 1938-1942; he also conducted at least one series of dance courses on the college campus. He helped set up the first branch of the Colorado Mountain Club outside the city of Denver in 1919, was president of the Winter Night Club in 1937, and was a member of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. With regard to dance, he was associated with some of the early National Square Dance Conventions, serving as Master of Ceremonies at the 3rd National Convention in 1954, and was on the organizing committee for the National Folk Festival in 1940. He was the primary teacher, choreographer, and caller for the Cheyenne Mountain Dancers from the 1920s until his retirement, and choreographed the dancing for the 1946 movie “Duel in the Sun.” He initially recorded his own calling with Decca Records and the “Duel in the Sun Orchestra,” but in 1950 started his own label, Lloyd Shaw Records, in conjunction with Fred Bergin; it focused on round dance and folk dance music, but also included square dance tunes. He worked with Alfred Brown of the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind to help them create their own square dance exhibition team, and was indirectly associated with the American Square Dance Association, contributing several letters and articles to the periodical “Sets in Order.” Both of his major dance books, “Cowboy Dances” in 1939 and “The Round Dance Book” in 1947, were published by the Caxton Printers, in Idaho; after his death, this formed the basis for a continued relationship with the Lloyd Shaw Foundation.


216.5 Linear Feet (155 containers)


Further accruals are expected.

Related Materials

Related collections include: D016 Lloyd Shaw Foundation Audiovisual Collection, D035 Dance Camps, Conventions, and Festivals Collection, D044 Bob Osgood Papers, D050 Jimmy Clossin Papers, D059 Cal Golden Papers, D098 Brundage Family Papers, D099 Willard Orlich Papers, D100 Star Promenaders Collection, D101 Jack Murtha Papers, and D102 Red Warrick Papers.

Related Materials

Related collections include: D016 Lloyd Shaw Foundation Audiovisual Collection, D044 Bob Osgood Papers, D050 Jimmy Clossin Papers, D059 Cal Golden Papers, D098 Brundage Family Papers, D099 Willard Orlich Papers, D100 Star Promenaders Collection, D101 Jack Murtha Papers, and D102 Red Warrick Papers.

Processing Information

Serials from the Lloyd Shaw Foundation members have been pulled from this collection and cataloged.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428